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The Egwugwu are ancestral spirit masqueraders who play a significant role in the religious traditions and rituals of the Igbo people of Nigeria (in Things Fall Apart, the Igbo are called "Ibo"). The novel follows the Igbos in pre-colonial Nigeria, when traditions and rituals maintained a more important place than they do now. The "secrets of the Egwugwu" are associated with a young Igbo man's coming of age ritual.
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